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THE   LIGHTHOUSE

power she saw too how it fed on the treasure of
the house, greedily, disgustingly, and she loathed
it. But for a sight, for a glory it surpassed every-
thing in her experience, and burnt year after year
like a signal fire on a desert island at the edge of
the sea, and one had only to say " in love " and
instantly, as happened now, up rose Paul's fire
again. And it sank and she said to herself,
laughing, " The Rayleys "; how Paul went to
coffee-houses and played chess.)

She had only escaped by the skin of her teeth
though, she thought. She had been looking at
the table-cloth, and it had flashed upon her that
she would move the tree to the middle, and need
never marry anybody, and she had felt an enor-
mous exultation. She had felt, now she could stand
up to Mrs. Ramsay—a tribute to the astonishing
power that Mrs. Ramsay had over one. Do this,
she said, and one did it. Even her shadow at the
window with James was full of authority. She
remembered how William Bankes had been
shocked by her neglect of the significance of
mother and son. Did she not admire their beauty?
he said. But William, she remembered, had
listened to her with his wise child's eyes when she
explained how it was not irreverence: how a light
there needed a shadow there and so on. She did
not intend to disparage a subject which, they

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